Walter Dean Myers Harlem.docx - aatrey by fjzhangxiaoquan

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									    Walter Dean Myers Harlem                      What does he mean by this?
1   They took the road in Waycross, Georgia       I believe this poem describes how far
    Skipped over the tracks in East St. Louis     blacks has came before most came to
    Took the bus from Holly Springs               Harlem
    Hitched a ride from Gee’s Bend
    Took the long way through Memphis
    The third deck down from Trinidad
    A wrench of heart from Goree Island
    A wrench of heart from Goree Island
    To a place called
    Harlem

2   Harlem was a promise                          Harlem was a place where blacks could be
    Of a better life,                             themselves. They brought new tradition
    of a place where a man                        and songs to Harlem.
    Didn’t have to know his place
    Simply because
    He was Black

    They brought a call
    A song
    First heard in the villages of
    Ghana/Mali/Senegal
    Calls and songs and shouts
    Heavy hearted tambourine rhythms
    Loosed in the hard city
    Like a scream torn from the throat
    Of an ancient clarinet

3   A new sound, raucous and sassy
    Cascading over the asphalt village
    Breaking against the black sky over
    1-2-5 Street
    Announcing Hallelujah
    Riffing past resolution

    Yellow, tan, brown, black, red
    Green, gray, bright
    Colors loud enough to be heard
    Light on asphalt streets
    Sun yellow shirts on burnt umber
    Bodies
    Demanding to be heard
    Seen
    Sending out warriors

4   From streets known to be
    Mourning still as a lone radio tells us how
    Jack Johnson
    Joe Louis
    Sugar Ray
    Is doing with our hopes.

    We hope
    We pray
    Our black skins
    Reflecting the face of God
    In storefront temples

    Jive and Jehovah artists
    Lay out the human canvas
    The mood indigo

5   A chorus of summer herbs
    Of mangoes and bar-b-que
    Of perfumed sisters
    Hip strutting past
    Fried fish joints
    On Lenox Avenue in steamy August

    A carnival of children
    People in the daytime streets
    Ring-a-levio warriors
    Stickball heroes
    Hide-and-seek knights and ladies
    Waiting to sing their own sweet songs
    Living out their own slam-dunk dreams
    Listening
    For the coming of the blues

6   A weary blues that Langston knew
    And Countee sung
    A river of blues
    Where Du Bois waded
    And Baldwin preached

    There is lilt
    Tempo
    Cadence
    A language of darkness
    Darkness known
    Darkness sharpened at Mintons
    Darkness lightened at the Cotton Club
    Sent flying from Abyssinian Baptist
    To the Apollo.



7   The uptown A
    Rattles past 110th Street
    Unreal to real
    Relaxing the soul

    Shango and Jesus
    Asante and Mende
    One people
    A hundred different people
    Huddled masses
    And crowded dreams

    Squares
    Blocks, bricks
    Fat, round woman in a rectangle
    Sunday night gospel
    “Precious Lord…take my hand,
    Lead me on, let me stand…”

    Caught by a full lipped
    Full hipped Saint
    Washing collard greens
    In a cracked porcelain sink
    Backing up Lady Day on the radio


8   Brother so black and blue
    Patting a wide foot outside the
    Too hot Walk-up
    “Boy,
    You ought to find the guys who told you
    you could play some checkers
    ‘cause he done lied to you!”

    Cracked reed and soprano sax laughter
    Floats over
    a fleet of funeral cars

    In Harlem
    Sparrows sit on fire escapes
    Outside rent parties
    To learn the tunes.

    In Harlem
    The wind doesn’t blow past Smalls
    It stops to listen to the sounds

    Serious business
    A poem, rhapsody tripping along
    Striver’s Row
    Not getting it’s metric feel soiled
    On the well-swept walks
    Hustling through the hard rain at two
    o’clock
    In the morning to its next gig.

9   A huddle of horns
    And a tinkle of glass
    A note
    Handed down from Marcus to Malcolm
    To a brother
    Too bad and too cool to give his name.

    Sometimes despair
    Makes the stoops shudder
    Sometimes there are endless depths of pain
    Singing a capella on street corners

    And sometimes not.

    Sometimes it is the artist
    looking into the mirror
    Painting a portrait of his own heart.

    Place
    Sound
    Celebration
    Memories of feelings
    Of place

    A journey on the A train
    That started on the banks of the Niger
    And has not ended

    Harlem.

								
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